The Conquest of Cancer: A Long-Ignored Breakthrough
AuthorHouseUK (May 2, 2017)
Softcover $24.99 (356pp)
Kalina compellingly argues on behalf of an underutilized cancer treatment in his persuasive new work.
In The Conquest of Cancer, Vladimir Kalina provides insight into a controversial therapy that may provide a less intrusive treatment, and even hope, to those afflicted with cancer.
The book opens by detailing the state of cancer treatment today. Even though research has progressed, Kalina sees cancer treatment as mired by resistance to new ideas and professional jealousies. Because of this, he says, the status quo has overlooked a therapy discovered in 1957 by Czechoslovakian surgeon Karel Fortýn—a procedure called devitalization, which cuts the blood flow to cancer cells.
Kalina proposes that the surgery—part of a therapy called autologous tissue anti-cancer immunization therapy (ATACIT)—could be less intrusive and cheaper than traditional cancer therapies, and could save thousands of lives. Although the book is intended to educate medical specialists, Kalina writes with a clear, straightforward style in order to reach a larger audience and help more people lean about ATACIT. Whenever a topic is introduced, it is accompanied by a comprehensive explanation, giving a nonmedical audience greater context for the treatment. Such extensive explanations can become tricky, as when a chapter is dedicated to describing how to perform the therapy on different parts of the body. But even in such sections, the book succeeds at balancing the needs of both its medical and layperson audiences.
A compare-and-contrast structure also serves the work well. A high-level overview of modern cancer research and treatment is provided at the beginning of the book and is then effectively contrasted to the impact that ATACIT therapy could have on cancer treatment. This results in a compelling and persuasive narrative to promote the therapy. The tone of the book is shaped by such awareness. Kalina is clearly frustrated that the medical community isn’t more receptive to the therapy, even calling out the establishment for its “totalitarian communist methods and practices.”
This frustration is palpable through provided evidence, such as the fact that the devitalization procedure is performed regularly in veterinary medicine with an 80 percent success rate, while human trials were halted prematurely. Ultimately, the book concludes that the resistance to the ATACIT therapy denies thousands of cancer patients access to a treatment that may save and improve their lives.
The Conquest of Cancer is ideal for medical specialists seeking less invasive therapies for their patients, as well as for anyone suffering from cancer and desperate for further, more positive information. One hopes that the medical community may one day see ATACIT in a different, more positive light; as Kalina writes, “The greater the resistance to a newly discovered principle, the greater its ultimate contribution to medicine in the general interest of society.”
KATERIE PRIOR (July 14, 2017)
A debut author looks at a rare surgical technique for combating cancer developed over decades.
With little fanfare, this work begins by condemning Western medicine’s risk-averse approach to cancer treatment. As Kalina explains, while the scientific method may allow for shifting treatment paradigms, the minutiae of research grants and the centralization of medical publishing discourage new methods from being practiced on a large scale. Instead of giving doctors and surgeons the breathing room to develop novel techniques, the fear of malpractice suits and withdrawn funding is used to funnel medical efforts into only a handful of treatments—notably chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Kalina is particularly harsh on both for their “all-in” effects on the body’s immune system. Once patients have undergone chemotherapy, their bodies are often too weak to undergo other treatments, a fact that is often used to suggest that they are ineffective. Kalina wants to encourage fully informed patients and interested doctors to try methods other than chemotherapy (in spite of its popularity). The particular approach Kalina backs was pioneered by Karel Fortýn in Czechoslovakia over 50 years ago. Fortýn’s breakthrough was “devitalization,” a process where tumors are surgically devascularized and left in place, which allows the immune system to mark those dying cancer cells for reabsorption by the body. Kalina’s breakdown of the culture of cancer research and diagnosis is intriguing and persuasive, if slightly verbose (“If we also take into account the immense sums invested independently by pharmaceutical companies worldwide, we determine that never have so many resources been mobilized in such a short time for a single cause or single aim in the medical field without attaining pursued objectives”). The author forcefully argues that the current climate of cancer treatment prevents devitalization from being accepted by practitioners. Most of his references come from medical research rather than the philosophy of science or the social sciences, giving the societal critiques a more anecdotal feel, especially compared to the in-depth surgical sections of the book. But as Kalina moves into a detailed explanation of the technical procedure of devitalization—its effects on different organs and types of cancer, the stitches used, and other compatible treatment techniques—his meticulous writing begins to shine anew.
A convincing criticism of modern medicine that advocates the reinvention of cancer treatment.
A young doctor’s unique surgical intervention in 1957 opened the door to a potentially significant cancer therapy breakthrough yet to be adopted by specialists. Vladimir Kalina hopes to change that in this informative, scientifically detailed tome.
The surgical technique that the late Karel Fortýn devised was performed on a middle-aged man with a gunshot wound who also had an advanced, inoperable stomach cancer. With no other options, Fortýn decided to devascularize the stomach and bypass it all together, but he then left the stomach within the body cavity to avoid other complications.
When the patient recovered, Fortýn was surprised to learn that the technique had triggered a spontaneous remission of the advanced cancer with no relapse. He named the technique “devitalization” and was successful in further animal and human experimentation. Despite this, his work was ignored and discredited by cynical specialists.
Kalina’s book is written as a tribute to his colleague’s work with the hope of renewing interest. It opens by explaining what he feels is wrong with cancer research, then describes Fortýn’s early life up until that first surgery in a hospital in western Bohemia. Employing Fortýn’s own notes, published papers, tables and illustrations, it then details his surgical techniques, animal studies and human surgeries done with positive results.
The book is well designed throughout, although the first 40 or so pages are a bit long-winded. Unlike typical medical books, the author openly and passionately expresses his dismay at the inattention to Fortýn’s work. While billions are spent toward a cancer cure, Kalina finds it “regrettable that we are shamelessly ignoring the fact that millions of lives could be simply saved.”
Overall, Kalina makes a strong case for revisiting “this extraordinary finding,” which could draw large readership from both medical specialists and cancer patients.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.
The Conquest of Cancer: A Long-Ignored Breakthrough
by Vladimir Kalina
reviewed by Donna Ford
“Unhindered cancer cells grow copiously, and so antigens…are not produced…and malignant cells are not marked for elimination by immune system components…”
Kalina introduces his book with provocative claims about cancer and its research today. The first claim is alarming enough: every third person is afflicted with cancer, and nearly every fourth person actually dies from it. A reader of this book likely has personal experience supporting these statistics. The author’s second claim is that the economic credo in the selection of potential research projects is to attain maximum profits in minimum time. Drug research has priority. Chapters 1 through 3 discuss how this affects professional clinicians and physicians. The book is dedicated to one of three Nobel Prize winners for the discovery of penicillin who experienced the early stages of big business determining research funds.
Remaining chapters present the concept and methodology introduced by Dr. Karel Fortýn called Autologous Tumor Immunizing Devascularisation (ATID) theory. His research proved ATID effective during animal and sample clinical testing on cancers with large, solid tumors. While chemotherapy works for certain cancers such as leukemia, it can actually harm immune system defenses needed for tumor removal. Fortýn’s technique surgically extracts the tumor but stitches off the blood supply to a remnant of cancer tissue. This blood-starved tissue alerts the patient’s immune system to destroy any cancer cells, at the site or elsewhere.
Because the author writes for two audiences (layman and professional) early chapters may seem repetitive, even argumentative. Excellent resources at the end of the book include a list of tables and figures along with a comprehensive index, although a glossary for the layman would have been a helpful addition. Still, this 340-page book has met Kalina’s aims to explain reasons for the prevailing attitude, arouse public and professional interest, and show that current therapeutic procedures actually remove or destroy the patient’s immune system rather than stimulating it. No reader will again think the same about cancer and its victims.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review
The field of medicine is complicated and often misunderstood by the general population. Author Vladimir Kalina’s well-organized and well-researched exploration of a potentially beneficial cancer treatment is a true illustration of that fact, but also a very organized and detailed explanation of the suggested treatments. The reader is introduced to a surgical procedure called ‘devitalization’ which has the potential to treat patients with advanced cancers. Specifically, patients whose only option with today’s conventional medicine would be palliative care and ultimately, death. Despite the extensive cancer research and funding of such research, treatments have improved over time, but hosts of outside factors mean that many potentially beneficial treatments are not accessible to patients. The first few chapters of the book explore those outside factors. When a patient goes to a doctor or hospital with a deadly disease, we assume they are given every treatment option possible, but that’s simply not the case. Only approved treatments, and certain ones are offered. On the surface this makes sense. But deeper thought reveals another question: why are patients not offered every available treatment, even if non-conventional, when they will surely die anyway? Why aren’t the patients allowed to make these choices for themselves? Why do we blindly trust medical professionals when red tape and bureaucracy often hinder them? While this is not the only point of the book, these ideas are important to the author’s ultimate goal. The book offers glimpses into the research and approval side of medicine which many people may have never actually considered.
After introducing the difficult road for any procedure to become a part of standard medical practice, the actual procedure of ‘devitalization’ is introduced. It’s introduction, history, and potential benefits are explored in depth. For the average reader, myself included, this section of the book, which comprised the largest portion and the ‘meat’ of the information, reads somewhat like a medical textbook. It is dry, extremely detailed, and the information is supported by multiple equations, graphs, and illustrations. While it was often difficult to understand for a lay-person, the large point was clear: this treatment has the potential to help people with no other options and should be reconsidered, after going through the proper channels, potentially offered to the public. With more time to research the wealth of technical information offered, a reader or medical professional could absorb this knowledge and have a better understanding of a potentially life-saving technique. Fortunately, a detailed Table of Contents allows any reader to locate and follow the information most pertinent to their individual situation. The Conquest of Cancer: A Long Ignored Breakthrough is extensively researched and a thorough and incredibly detailed exploration of current cancer treatments and research — one that has not had the proper chance to make a difference.